Open Thread: I Did Not Have Epistemological Relations With That Pastor

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The media titans are making a big deal out of Barack Obama's Kennedy-Romneyesque Speech to Change the Subject. After being battered for days by video of his former pastor saying things like "God Damn America, that's in the Bible, for killing innocent people!", Obama is giving a "major speech on race."

If you're watching it, post your thoughts here. I expect to be brilliant, and delivered brilliantly, but it's a loss for Obama that he even has to give it. Until recently he was able to tell Americans exactly what they wanted to hear about race—"hey, it's all gonna work out!"—without saying a word. Now he's being explicit. And it's never good when TV commentators are tossing around the word "Afrocentric" in Obama segments.

Ben Smith has the text, and here's the "God Damn Rev. Wright!" section:

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

I wonder how much people will focus on the "while I sat in church" business—Obama has said he wasn't there for the stuff ABC has on video (most of which was taken after he was a DC-bound senator, I think), so the spelunking into sermon tapes will probably continue. At least it's more contrite than Mitt Romney's pandering "here, let me pivot and beat up atheists" speech.

UPDATE: Byron York is the de facto skeptic on the speech: "Obama concedes he has heard "controversial" remarks from Rev. Jeremiah Wright during services Obama attended, although Obama does not say what those remarks might have been." Agreed: If the press corps wants to know more about those remarks, they'll keep peppering him with questions about specific sermons. My limited experience with the Obama press corps suggests that they won't. They want to be tougher on him, and the "Obama, hope of his countrymen" story has run its course, but they are not interested in breaking down the doors of his church. Just as they eventually stopped asking Bill Clinton about Gennifer Flowers, they will pull back and start asking Obama about something else.

UPDATE: From Jonathan Martin:

Just as when Mitt Romney addressed another sensitive matter, religion, last December, I can pretty much anticipate the insta-reviews: great success.

Why?  

Because those assessments will come largely from elites, a niche that is uncomfortable with race and religion playing too prominent a role in campaigns and that looks kindly upon those candidates who seek to move us beyond the embarrasing bigotry of the past.

What actual voters think is a different story, of course.   

Just ask Romney. His speech, a month before the Iowa caucuses, won rave reviews from both mainstream commentators and other Christian Right elites.

Well, the elites understand white Democrats a hell of a lot better than they understand Christian conservatives. So I don't believe reaction to this will be as tone-deaf. But the political media wants Obama to succeed more than it wanted Romney to be the GOP nominee, so some of the difference will be muted. Also, I need to go back and look at the polls, but I'm not sure that a majority of GOP voters were aware that Romney was a Mormon: Certainly the number who did surged after the speech. Obama has been winning primaries when every voter knows he's black and a certain minority (around 10 perent) think he's a Muslim. But they saw him as a "good" black candidate, one with nothing in common with the Al Sharptons and Louis Farrakhans they reel from, and this controversy was changing that.

NEXT: Several Minutes with Mike Gravel

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  1. He better hit this speech out of the park or else hes done, completely finished.

  2. I think he will. He’s good with speeches.

  3. I don’t understand why this speech is on “race”. Saying “God damn America” isn’t racist its just nutty and in bad taste for the Sunday after the attacks.

  4. This is bad. He’s just flipped from saying he didn’t hear him, to saying he did hear him and disagreed.

  5. If he is a true comic genius, he will include the statement “where all the white women at?” in his speech. Cleavon Little would have done it. And it would sure distract people from his pastor.

  6. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

    Well, if you disagree with him so much why was he your spiritual adviser? Doesn’t really answer that question.

  7. Episarch: ‘scuse him while he whips this out.

  8. Well, if you disagree with him so much why was he your spiritual adviser? Doesn’t really answer that question.

    Nah, that would involve making statements of substance, and that isn’t his style.

  9. I don’t see him putting this issue to bed. I see him trying to “lawyer” his way through this. Obama is starting to remind me of John Kerry.

  10. “God Damn America”

    I just finished reading Balko’s “Monday Morning Bad News” post, and about all I can say is, “Right answer, wrong reason.”

  11. It’s more contrite than Mitt Romney’s pandering “let me pivot and beat up atheists” speech

    But what did Romney really have to answer for? The fact that his church had a segregationist policy prior to 1974? That they allowed polygamy back in the 19th Century?

    Romney’s relgion was held up to higher scrutiny because we assume he believes it. Obama’s religion gets a pass because we assume he’s insincere about it.

  12. Hillary just threw up in her mouth a little.

  13. hhhh, if i went to a church for 20 years where the minister sermonized about how black people are the source of evil, that had mission statements that called for white power and white unity, if i were married in that church and had my kids baptized there, if i dedicated my book to that minister, i suspect someone might come to the conclusion that i’m a racist.

    i don’t think obama is a racist, he’s just an opportunist. but hey, beat him with any club that’s handy.

    vote for gridlock in ’08!

  14. Well, if you disagree with him so much why was he your spiritual adviser? Doesn’t really answer that question.

    Maybe because he is also a powerful speaker and an inspirational person who has lots of good things to offer Obama and his community along with the controversial and nutty things. Obama has said as much at other points.

  15. “Well, if you disagree with him so much why was he your spiritual adviser? Doesn’t really answer that question.”

    Now there’s a political litmus test to be someone’s spiritual adviser? Are we disregarding any distinction between church and politics?

  16. Obama is starting to remind me of John Kerry.

    All Democratic candidates sans Bill Clinton for the last 30 or so years remind me of John Kerry.

  17. Romney’s relgion was held up to higher scrutiny because we assume he believes it. Obama’s religion gets a pass because we assume he’s insincere about it.

    I think it’s more that Romney was running in a party where everyone else believes in this stuff. Fewer democrats spend time thinking about the church their candidate goes to.

  18. hhhh, if i went to a church for 20 years where the minister sermonized about how black people are the source of evil, that had mission statements that called for white power and white unity, if i were married in that church and had my kids baptized there, if i dedicated my book to that minister, i suspect someone might come to the conclusion that i’m a racist.

    Shhh…joe will get ALL worked up here pretty quick with talk like that.

  19. Now there’s a political litmus test to be someone’s spiritual adviser?

    If you’re a politician you better sure as hell be careful about who you associate with. Obama doesn’t seem to be.

  20. i don’t think obama is a racist, he’s just an opportunist. but hey, beat him with any club that’s handy.

    Was that written with any self awareness?

  21. “hhhh, if i went to a church for 20 years where the minister sermonized about how black people are the source of evil, that had mission statements that called for white power and white unity, if i were married in that church and had my kids baptized there, if i dedicated my book to that minister, i suspect someone might come to the conclusion that i’m a racist.”

    Remember Edna – The minister in question isn’t white, so he gets a free pass.

    CB

  22. Its not that its a black church. Black churches aren’t anymore racist than a Russian Orthodox or predominatley Polish Catholic Church. Its the nutty statements made by a minister.

  23. If the speech doesn’t start with “Look, you white devils, . . . ” then I ain’t buying it.

    Vote for Grimlock in ’08. Right for the Dino-bots, Right for America.

  24. …stalwart allies like Israel…

    Uh, yeah, the same stalwart ally that attacked the USS Liberty in 1968.

    Suspect that Obama is using Katherine Mangu-Ward as his fact-checker.

  25. Didn’t Obama call him a mentor at some point?

  26. Shhh…joe will get ALL worked up here pretty quick with talk like that.

    joe is just a shill for big race.

  27. If he is a true comic genius, he will include the statement “where all the white women at?”

    You think that’s funny? If you think that’s funny you don’t understand the what is at issue here. If he’s a true comic genius he’ll put a gun to his own head and say “Nobody move or the nigger gets it”

  28. He just called the guy “family”. Its over.

  29. Oops, the USS Liberty incident was 1967, not 1968.

  30. If you’re a politician you better sure as hell be careful about who you associate with. Obama doesn’t seem to be.

    Someone tell that to John McCain.

    Cesar, I’m sure that you aren’t just being partisan and holding Obama to a higher standard than just about any politician on the right who panders to the Falwells and the Donahues, right?

    I’m sure you think just as little of John McCain for wanting the endorsement of John “Catholicism is The Great Whore” Hagee and not repudiating his long long history of hateful comments about other religions, and minorities and women.

    Last I checked, McCain actually sought the endorsement of Hagee, whereas Obama is being attacked merely by association. And “God Damn America” is hardly controversial. I am sure many people on this forum believe in some variation of that sentiment. Whether its for the Drug war, the corruption of our elected officials, the shredding of the Constitution or any number of other things…

  31. Its the nutty statements made by a minister.

    With general agreement from his audience. Listen to the audio and note the fact that many in his congregation voice their approval. So is it a “pastor” problem, or a race problem? How many people secretly agree with him but publicly deny it?

  32. Has there been a big deal in the press about Hagee, Robertson, the late glutton Falwell, etc? Those guys say and believe some pretty stupid things. Didn’t McCain just make nice with those guys? Maybe I missed it or is this just something the press and oppo research has latched onto regarding Obama.

  33. And “God Damn America” is hardly controversial.

    That would be pretty controversial for a presidential candidate, no?

  34. If he’s a true comic genius he’ll put a gun to his own head and say “Nobody move or the nigger gets it”

    I merely opened the door for the rest of you, Warren. Only you (guys) can walk through it.

  35. joe is just a shill for big race.

    joe’s an idiot, and we’d be better off without him. He just can’t reconcile his self hatred with the fact that a black person can make hateful comments of a racist bent as well as white people. Typically he types one handed when it comes to racial issues on H&R, maybe his silence is due to him resorting to alternating both hands due to a black candidate making a speech directly on the point.

    It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams;

    From his speech. This kind of stuff is what makes it scary. The speech itself is very well written, allows him to, again, say a lot without saying anything. Yet, if you read it closely, “ladders to opportunity that didn’t exist”, indicates more set asides and other nonsensical solutions. It sounds nice, but in practice there isn’t anything there but more of what doesn’t work. He’ll sell it well, but the overall summary is that we’re not supposed to pay attention to it because he doesn’t want us to.

    You think that’s funny? If you think that’s funny you don’t understand the what is at issue here. If he’s a true comic genius he’ll put a gun to his own head and say “Nobody move or the nigger gets it”

    Now THAT would be fucking hilarious, and earn him more respect than anything else he could do. However, wouldn’t be viewed as “presidential”.

  36. It’s pretty hilarious watching people scramble to defend Obama, especially people who jumped hard on Ron Paul with both feet.

    Ron let some shady, quasi-racist shit go on without protesting. Is Paul a racist? I don’t think so.

    Obama let some shady, quasi-racist shit go on without protesting. Is Obama a racist? I don’t think so.

    So now you guys can’t defend Obama enough? And you can’t see how hypocritical you are?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  37. The reactions to his pastor just show how conditioned we are as a society. Why don’t we put the super patriots to the same lense? Because few like to be bothered with facts. Well he actually covered that in his speech:

    “that out of many, we are truly one.”

    That said his speech was beautifully written, but not of much value. It was everything to everyone, as the rest of his campaign has been, with the socialist subtlety that would make other socialists green with envy.

  38. Has there been a big deal in the press about Hagee, Robertson, the late glutton Falwell, etc? Those guys say and believe some pretty stupid things. Didn’t McCain just make nice with those guys?

    McCain didn’t go to their church for 20 years. People recognize a pander for what it is. Going to Falwell’s church for 20 years, given the amount of politics that comes from the preaching, implies you agree with him. Except that we’re supposed to not believe that with Obama.

    Hell, can you imagine the shit that would come from McCain going to a church which advertised itself as “unabashedly white”?

  39. not much diversity in that church eh.

  40. Cracker’s Boy, Chicago Tom and Masshole make the same points I was going to make. Cesar, check out Glenn Greenwald’s blog at salon.com for more details and a comparative analysis.

  41. maybe his silence is due to him resorting to alternating both hands due to a black candidate making a speech directly on the point.

    or maybe he’s working or doing all those nasty “real life” things.

  42. “And “God Damn America” is hardly controversial.”

    “That would be pretty controversial for a presidential candidate, no?”

    But Wright said it, not Obama.

  43. This kind of stuff is what makes it scary. The speech itself is very well written, allows him to, again, say a lot without saying anything.

    I wonder if this is how Obama will be as president, or once he gets into office he’ll start talking about real things. His speeches are nice to listen to, but they do get old after a while, and I wonder if Obama has the substance to actually be president. While some people seem to think he’s completely void of substance, I think he has it but since he’s gotten so far with his flowery speeches he doesn’t need substance…yet.

  44. Please, pleeeze, don’t let this torpedo Obama; he needs to get to the convention in good shape, preferably with a lead in delegates, based on the popular vote.

    Not only do I want to see the Demos self-destruct, and emerge from their convention in bloody, self-loathing tatters, I want to see what sort of procedural chicanery Hillary is capable of pulling. Because that’s the kind of guy I am.

    Now, if we could just find some Republican mutineers to make that convention a little more interesting…

  45. That would be pretty controversial for a presidential candidate, no?

    Yes if a presidential candidate said it, it would be controversial. And as soon as that happens, someone tell me.

    It’s pretty hilarious watching people scramble to defend Obama, especially people who jumped hard on Ron Paul with both feet.

    Personally, I didn’t jump on Ron Paul with both feet.

    But even you Episarch are smart enough to understand that there is quite a bit more accountability on the person who lets racists remarks go out in his name and in his newletter, compared to the someone who happens to be in the audience when racist remarks are uttered by a speaker that isn’t at really related to you or your campaign.

    Ron Paul deserves more heat since the remarks went out with his fucking byline. If you don’t see the difference, it’s you who is the hilarious one.

  46. Wonderful speech … absent any sort of real substance. However, Reagan had the same odd gift … his speeches were loaded with sweeping, broad, feel-good generalizations that were delivered in a crisp and pleasant manner. Americans instinctively react to this sort of communication with positive feeling – the rare politician can deliver the civic-religion sermon with such assiduity.

  47. What is hilarious is watching the right leaning “libertarians” on this board trying to assert that somehow Obama is responsible for the public comments that a third part uttered.

    When John McCain goes groveling hat in hand and tail between his legs to Robertson, Falwell and Hagee you same jokers are silent. When Ron Paul allows racist tripe to be distributed under his own name in his own newsletter, you jokers rationalize it away by blaming Ghost Writers and knowing that he really didn’t mean that…

    but when a black pastor of a black church that Obama happens to go to, says some kooky things — all of a sudden Obama is in the wrong.

    The ability of some people to compartmentalize and minimize shit that “their team” does is truly amazing. How people can be so dishonest with themselves and others really is unbelievable.

  48. “given the amount of politics that comes from the preaching, implies you agree with him. Except that we’re supposed to not believe that with Obama.”

    I’m curious about what percentage of Wright’s sermons are inflamatory. We only have seen a small amount of his sermons, which is selectively his most inflamatory. For all we know, this inflamatory talk might represent a tiny fraction of a percent of what he normally preaches about. In that is the case, (as I think it probably is) I feel Obama is being unfairly crucified.

  49. Ron Paul deserves more heat since the remarks went out with his fucking byline. If you don’t see the difference, it’s you who is the hilarious one.

    And you keep at your absurd rationalizing. If you work hard enough, it’ll be true for you, and that’s what really matters, right?

  50. I don’t see how being married, having your kids baptized by the guy and actively listening to his spiritual advice for 20 years makes this just some guy Obama happens to know, they’re close.

    Oh yeah, almost forgot that “the Audacity of Hope” is supposed to be a line out of one of Wright’s sermons.

    But he’s probably not a meaningful indication or influencer of Obama’s beliefs.

  51. The ability of some people to compartmentalize and minimize shit that “their team” does is truly amazing. How people can be so dishonest with themselves and others really is unbelievable.

    OMG. Do you really have this little self-awareness? Projection–it’s what’s for dinner.

  52. Clearly Barack needs to get it over with and just start using KRS-One’s “Sound of the Beast” as his campaign theme.

    “They still ride horses!”

  53. I think the only time a candidates nuttiness should come into play is if it would affect how they would perform. Even if Ron Paul was a closet racist, I find it hard to believe he would have acted on it as president.

    Similarly, while Obama’s pastor is a nut and we’ll never know the extent to which Obama agrees with the Rev, I doubt it would have much impact on his duties. No candidate has been squeaky clean, and I see no need for them to be. We look for too much perfection in the candidates.

  54. Obama did call Wright a “mentor”, didn’t he? Am I wrong about that?

    This isn’t quite apples and oranges to Ron Paul. Don Black wasn’t Ron Paul’s “mentor.”

  55. OMG. Do you really have this little self-awareness? Projection–it’s what’s for dinner.

    Episarch, you must be confusing me with someone else. I criticize my team as much as I criticize the other team. You are deluded and dishonest if you think otherwise.

    But whatever…feel free to just yell “partisan” at anyone who disagrees with your bias. (speaking of self awareness…aren’t you always attacking joe for just what you are wrongly implying about me?)

  56. And you keep at your absurd rationalizing. If you work hard enough, it’ll be true for you, and that’s what really matters, right?

    Rationalizing? One guy published racist crap under his byline. The other is being targetted for something someone else.

    Ron Paul had control over what went out in his name. Obama has no control over Wright.

    Pretending that these are the same exposes you.

  57. If I were a betting man, I would imagine that Rev. Wright built his entire congregation around the kind of “God Damn America” rhetoric of which he is now infamous. You’re not going to bring in the crowds and the money (not necessarily in that order) without a gimmick and a show.

  58. Are the voters ready for an atheist now?

    Obama let some shady, quasi-racist shit go on without protesting.

    I didn’t realize the preacher was speaking on Obama’s behalf.

  59. pastor of a black church that Obama happens to go to

    You say this as though Obama’s car ran out of gas in the rain one Sunday morning, and he wandered into the church to stay dry, while waiting for the tow truck.

  60. Ron Paul had control over what went out in his name. Obama has no control over Wright.

    Ron Paul could have looked at the newsletters and told them to stop, or removed his name. Obama could have removed himself from the congregation. Neither did, so both are now associated with what went on.

    This is so fucking simple that only people who desperately want to exonerate one or the other will fractionate the differences. If you don’t agree with something being said, you distance yourself. Neither Paul nor Obama did this.

    But you keep telling yourself it’s different.

  61. I have a feeling that both the repubs and the Clintons did this one very well.

    Who brought up the pastor issue in the first place?

  62. But you keep telling yourself it’s different.

    You keep pretending they are the same.

    The bottom line is….if it goes out with your byline they are your words.

    You can flail around and pretend that Ron Paul was just a victim in all of this. But he wasn’t. As far as the public record is concerned, those are his words — they are attributed to him, and they are in HIS newsletter. They went out with his name on them. In the most generous reading of the circumstances, at the very least he approved them and used them as red meat for fund-raising.

    Obama on the other hand never said the words, nor claimed them, nor endorsed them. In fact he repudiate them and went above an beyond in even giving a speech about the ordeal (unlike Ron “It’s in the past I don’t want to talk about it” Paul. And Obama hasn’t benefitted from Wrights words.

    It is simple. To anyone with a functioning brain who isn’t blinded by partisan hate. Ron Paul felt heat because those words were rightly attributed to him. Obama is being smeared in a guilt by association manner.

    The same rationale that made it unfair to attack Paul because the 9/11 truthers or racists donated/supprted to his campaign/candidacy, is the same rationale why Obama isn’t responsible for what his pastor said.

    If Obama puts out this kind of garbage with his byline, he should be condemned in the same way.

  63. This is pretty laughable and pathetic stuff from Episiarch, Cesar, et al. So have you all been hibernating over at least the last seven years (or maybe two decades or so), you know, the period during which the Republicans have been in bed with a whole slew of America bashing white evangelicals? I ask because McCain is actually making noises that some of these folks will, in fact, be his advisers. He’s not just snapping photos with Hagee, Parsley (Falwell mercifully croaked), he is proudly sharing the stage with them.

    I hate all of this shit as much as the next person, but just because some of you guys just woke up and decided to selectively crucify Obama for the ranting of one of his associates doesn’t mean the rest of the country is as clueless as you are.

    This issue is a wash because the last thing McCain wants to see is a close examination of crazy spiritual advisers.

  64. Two points that, to me, make this whole Rev. Wright thing not a big deal:

    1. As brotherben pointed out yesterday (I think), a fundamentalist Christian is going to say some things that sound nutty to most people because of radically different perspectives. If you identify with pre-exile Jewish prophets or first century Roman Christians, something like “God damn America!” becomes not only appropriate but practically necessary.

    2. I’m not sure how old Rev. Wright is, but he looks old enough to remember when the large majority of whites either actively wished harm to most blacks or didn’t mind it. Obama’s been a community organizer, and I’m sure he’s run across other blacks who have similar sentiments. I imagine that, like me, while he doesn’t agree with these sorts of things he’s willing to accept where they’re coming from. It’s like the Jewish girl I worked with who refused to buy VWs or other German cars; I didn’t personally feel bad for owning a Passat, but I understand her sentiment entirely.

  65. I agree with pinko.

  66. And “God Damn America” is hardly controversial. I am sure many people on this forum believe in some variation of that sentiment.

    Libertarians make up a small percentage of voters so it matters little how we rationalize the remark within our own media and communications with one another.

    It is a controversial remark because the American public by and large is squeamish when it comes to the Nation’s history, and believe in the Nations unquestioned goodness. Anytime you bring up matters like the proto-Nationalism that caused the Civil War, attempts to exterminate Indigenous Americans, the nastier aspects and outcomes of our adventure
    in the Good War, it will rub a great many people the wrong way because of the dogma they have been taught.

    It is difficult to swim against the tide as this stuff really is instilled into us at an early age. Part of the decision of the California court in the Home Schooler case spoke of the duty of an education to instill patriotism and a love of the Country (modern parlance — the government), and the concern that Home Schoolers may be passing every test with flying colors except for the loyalty test.

    It seems to me Cesar is looking at the bigger picture of how this will fly with the public and affect the outcome in November rather than if Obama’s words fit into a common paradigm we happen to share.

  67. How ridiculously juvenile this all is.

    Yes Obama has a pastor that among the 20 or 30 years of service espoused some views that America is a racist, corrupt country. (Of which you can take or leave at face value) He did that among a great many other speeches that spoke of service to the community and faith. And that same man was responsible for Obama’s spiritual upbringing into his church. So what?

    The last time that I checked, there wasn’t a voters registration card at the gates of heaven.

    If you want to choose your spiritual adviser based on their geo-political worldviews – or expect anyone else to need to then you need to get a head-check.

    And for those who parrot the ‘wheres the substance’ meme – I would challenge you to point me towards ANY candidate, republican or otherwise, who has spoken as openly and frankly about the issue of race in America as what was contained within this speech. Cause I haven’t heard it.

    Or maybe you’d rather a substantive speech on race talk about setting up more government boards and committees to deal with it?

  68. Also, black theological association with the Jews in slavery or oppression is not exactly a new thing. If you’re still waiting for Moses, it’s okay to say bad stuff about Egypt.

  69. And Obama hasn’t benefitted from Wrights words.

    Isn’t “The Audacity of Hope” directly from Wright’s sermons?

    the period during which the Republicans have been in bed with a whole slew of America bashing white evangelicals?

    Is this thread about that? Or is it about Obama? It’s amazing how you Democratic leaners are constitutionally incapable of seeing the difference between criticizing Obama because he’s a douchebag and criticizing Obama because I support the right.

    You are so partisan that you become blind. I think Obama is a moron. Why? Because if he’s a shitty enough politician to not realize being in that congregation might bite him in the ass, he must be pretty stupid.

    As for McCain, have you ever seen me defend him in any way? If you want to have discussion about his nasty choices in advisors, get Weigel to start a thread about it. I’m not going to play your “if you don’t attack McCain for every sentence you write about Obama, you’re not fair” game.

  70. BTW…How the fuck did Ron Paul end up in this discussion? When you find the decade or so of back issues of the Obama newsletter, the ones loaded with racist tripe, let me know. Then there might be a reason to bring up Ron Paul. Until then, can we stick to the candidates that matter? Right now, Ron Paul is a nobody.

    Eyes on the prize here please…you know, whether or not such nutty preachers are to play a prominent role in the administrations of candidates who might win–McCain, Obama, perhaps Clinton?

  71. This issue is a wash because the last thing McCain wants to see is a close examination of crazy spiritual advisers.

    McCain has no spiritual advisers. He worships a Hegalian/Prussian notion of America as a glorious empire and military machine (My view has always been that we suck at military matters and that is why we spend ten times as much as anyone else with a return of about half of what any other large power would accomplish. We are very good at business, and should focus on that).

    It is bad enough McCain seeks the endorsement of Hagee and that ilk, but he really cant be accused of having spiritual advisors.

  72. I think this is all bullshit – but I also think Obama is toast because of it.

    Why? When this hit the blogs and papers last friday (I don’t watch tv news) I had to go to youtube to see and hear the “angry negro preacher.”

    His rhetoric was over the top, but kind of what you expect. I don’t think Obama agrees to it but rather uses his membership in black nationalist church to assure his constituents that he really is “black enough” to represent them … so confirming my feeling that he is regular politician who just happens to talk purdy.

    But what struck me was the number of views the 20 or so videos that were up on youtube. A couple of million people had watched them and more will by november. Videos were being added contrasting Obama’s speeches with Wright’s and I expect more will be added daily with recuts and mixes and some music videos. And people will keep watching them.

    Obama is now the angry black politician or just a cynical politician – either way he aint change.

  73. Episiarch,
    This is all about whether or not we should be concerned when someone associates themselves with that species of nutty preacher that says nutty things…the murka hatin variety. It is also about whether or not this is a new thing in American history or if it’s been happening all along. Historical perspective helps here, though you’d clearly like to pretend that because you just snapped to attention, everyone else is tone deaf as well. By your definition, the “he’s too stupid because of this unseemly association with the reverend” one, you’ve disqualified most of the potential candidates.

    Oh, and get off your fucking high horse about threadjacking. You were the douche that decided to inject Ron Paul into the discussion.

  74. Blue,

    You forget that youtube views are counted whenever a link is embedded in a blogsite. Also I think that the same people who are automatically going to write off Obama from this without a second thought aren’t exactly the same people who are thinking of voting for him in the first place.

  75. obama = alan keyes!

  76. This is all about whether or not we should be concerned when someone associates themselves with that species of nutty preacher that says nutty things…the murka hatin variety. It is also about whether or not this is a new thing in American history or if it’s been happening all along.

    Bullshit. It’s about you complaining bitterly that Obama’s getting hammered over this while McCain isn’t. Boo fucking hoo. I hope McCain gets hammered by lots of stuff, but I’m sorry, I’m going to call bullshit on your tepid and limp-dicked defenses of another scumbag politician: Obama.

    Sorry if your hero is getting kneecapped. He made dumb decisions in his chosen profession and is paying for it. Go complain to someone else.

  77. Obama is done. He defended his minister who is a racist and anti American. Mr. Obama is not worthy of my vote. I’m very disturbed by his defense of HIS MINISTER.
    I hope he is forced out of the presidental race.

  78. Episiarch,
    I don’t have a hero…not in politics anyway. I’m not complaining to anyone, but I tried, in vain, to introduce some perspective on this. You are immune to that. When grown-ups decide to actually type “boo fucking hoo” in their posts, I think we all die a little inside.

  79. I work at a machine shop and tend to eat in the break room at lunch with the rest of my co-workers. A couple months ago they spent lunch spouting a bunch of racist bullshit. It was enough that I stopped eating with them until the supervisor asked why and said he would make everyone cool it.

    Same thing happened with a local LP group, but I haven’t gone back. For some reason a guy that looks like Albert Einstein talking a bunch of smack about jews strikes me as strange.

    Point is, you just have to decide that you care enough to walk away from something like that. I really don’t care what he thinks, but if he really does disagree with his pastor he has no balls.

  80. What bothers me is that Obama got sucked in by primitive superstition in the first place. He wasn’t always like that, apparently.

  81. The indignity won’t come at Obama’s actual words, but at umbrage toward the wider media and press whom conservatives will (rightly) note are willing to give Obama a much longer leash that they would give a similarly entangled WASP or Good-Ol-Boy southerner.

    McCain was endorsed by John Hagee, an anti-catholic protestant, with nary a whisper from the mainstream press. It seems that, if anything, the press has been cutting the Republicans a lot more slack in terms of associations with sketchy, bigotted religious leaders than they’ve been cutting the democrats. Maybe it’s because the Repubs have been smoozing with evangelical bigots so long that it’s no longer news.

  82. I must admit I’m enjoying the spectacle of the Democrat party tearing itself apart over race while at the same time attempting to avoid mentioning it.

  83. how the fuck is this an “open thread” any more than any other H&R thread?

    We’ll talk about whatever the FUCK WE WANT TO, mr, “authority”!

    (cue Mellencamps painful ‘Authority Song’ jamout)

  84. . I don’t think Obama agrees to it but rather uses his membership in black nationalist church …

    uh. Whose denominational membership overall is 80% white?

    just because one preacher is a pissed off black man, does not a racist church make

  85. Obama has said Rev. Wright is his “spiritual advisor,” “mentor,” and that he goes to Wright “before making political decisions.”

    Thus, who Wright is becomes a matter of extreme national importance.

    (Let alone, affects the way the world views us, should he become President. Let alone, reflects badly upon his personal judgment.)

  86. “Agreed: If the press corps wants to know more about those remarks, they’ll keep peppering him with questions about specific sermons.”

    Why would this not be adequately answered by “all kinds of crazy stuff”?

    I mean, the specifics are only important if Obama actually gave it any credit.

    It seems like Obama’s making the case that Wright is generally an okay guy with some bad/kooky ideas on some things. So what the media needs to do is find evidence of *Obama* expressing similar views to Wright’s kooky ones.

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